Monday, May 04, 2009

Oregon: Cougar trap removed, minus cougar

By KYLE ODEGARD
Gazette-Times reporter

Last modified: Monday, May 4, 2009 3:42 PM PDT

Wiley young animal eluded ODFW

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife hasn't captured so much as a sniff of the young cougar that had been prowling northwest Corvallis, so the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has removed a live trap baited to catch him.

The agencies had been trying to trap the mountain lion for two weeks.

"We assume that the cougar has reverted to using its larger home range, incorporating the multiple ridges and drainages north and west of Corvallis," said Nancy Taylor, an ODFW biologist. "We are continuing to monitor the situation and ask that if anyone sees the cougar, to please let us know."

Taylor said the lack of success with the trap wasn't surprising, because cougars aren't attracted to live traps.

The Corvallis cougar was spotted seven times in two weeks — including in residential neighborhoods — and it attacked and seriously injured a house cat, but the pet is expected to recover after undergoing extensive veterinary care.

Biologists with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have said that the half-grown cougar posed a potential danger to humans because it didn't appear to be afraid of people. It sat still in backyards long enough to have its photograph taken at least twice.

"The fact that it hasn't been seen in the last couple of weeks within city limits means that the concern has been abated. It is no longer considered troubling or problematic," Taylor said.

The animal hasn't been seen within the city limits since April 19, however. At 6:30 to 7 p.m. On April 27, two reports were made about a cougar crossing Highway 99W. That animal reportedly was seen chasing a deer.

"One was three miles north of town, and the other was a half-mile north of town," Taylor said.

Taylor said she doesn't know if those later sightings were the young cougar that was roaming northwest Corvallis.

If the Corvallis cougar had been caught, and it was young enough and healthy, it would likely have been given to a zoo, said said Michelle Shireman, a zookeeper at the Oregon Zoo, in an interview last week. Shireman is the puma population manager for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Kyle Odegard can be contacted at kyle.odegard@lee.net or 758-9523.

http://www.gazettetimes.com/articles/2009/05/04/news/community/6loc06_cougar050409.txt

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